Last December 2019 I had the pleasure to interview the mesmerising and soul soothing South London singer COSIMA. A piece for the magical UNPOLISHED Magazine. A moment of PURE TRANSCENDANCE.
Photographed by LAURA BAILEY, The Dream.
THANKS MILLE FOIS TO MY EDITOR BRIT PARKS <3
FIND YOUR COPY RIGHT HERE + Learning now how to NEVER HALF CRY… and reading this piece all through the end for a stream of consciousness that does reach heights! +
She might be first and foremost a voice, so rich in sensuality and realness that she can only hypnotise, seduce, move; and then the whole world gets processed with an inner peace that temporarily ends up unveiling as a burning fire, almost untamable. Her name, Cosima, comes from the Greek, meaning order, if not decency. Without a doubt, the London singer seems far from considering herself decent: she swears a lot, and describes herself as really loud. Bringing calm and peace to others, sure thing; for herself, most definitely not.
Diving into her musical universe unveils along such lines: some sparkling, fizzy might as well fit for an admitted carbonated water constant temptation, enhancement of one’s self-worth through words that suavely scream from deep inside. Learning now how to never half cry… and reading this piece all through the end for a stream of consciousness that does reach heights!
HOW EASY IT IS TO KEEP YOURSELF CLOSED TO THE WORLD ONCE AGAIN
Cosima made it clear, sharing her view on the ongoing relationships’ trauma: “Everything’s better when it’s not yours, finding someone more than we are is so easy nowadays.” Options draw themselves as infinite today, and it hurts badly; “Am I good enough?” circles like an echo on the orbite that represents trust every single day because “everyone wants to be desired, to be wanted, to be loved. If you are fixated on how you look, if you are beautiful or not, it is because you want to be enough for someone.” A gentle reminiscence of her title Who Do You Love?! in which she preaches: “Find someone who loves you right.” That easy, isn’t it, and here she sits sipping Prosecco, in her casual high waisted blue jean and très chic camel cardigan, very French in her nonchalance that dresses charming thanks to an emotional intelligence, quite rare to find these days.
From one extreme to the other, she Had To Feel Something Then, she still does, and it sounds like her first single, but also like a certain detachment when looking at cars passing by from her bedroom window back home in Germany, “waiting for something to kick.” Some kind of awareness of feeling. She got a thing for opposites, as much as tears represent her emotional response, she would not deny her skills when it comes to burying the emotional overload. “Everything and anything, and not be scared of that;” that is how she presents it, a confusion that makes sense because simply “life is too short for that, for beating yourself up through it.”
YOU HAVE TO HELP YOURSELF FIRST
Sometimes, she gets stuck with writing, she is human indeed: “I’d have like a verse, but I don’t know how the chorus feels like, then I’ll go and find an image and put it on a mood board and just write EVERYTHING that comes to me […] You already find what the visual language of the song is like this.“ Cosima certainly makes music for personal reasons. Writing it shapes a relieve, performing it definitely embodies a cathartic journey; like “(sigh) I could say what I had to say. You write songs to sing them to people. […] It’s such a freeing experience to do it.” From the absence surrounding FONDNESS, which comes with feeling lonely, SOMETIMES all that is left to do is craving EVERYTHING (AGAIN).
She would like to think that she can control her emotions, but tears are her emotional response. It does not mean that she still cries about men; this one is definitely a no-go. With age, and she has not yet reached 30, that tells a lot, she has settled down. No more club obsession, no more “too much.” Growing up in London brought her to a realisation: “Everything happens really fast. By the time you’re 18, you’re like… I’m done. I can’t party anymore. I just want to go and do something else (laughs).” Something else like starting her own label, South of Heaven, to explore and experiment outside of the music industry guidelines of what an artist is and should be. “Protect the creative process at all cost,” she vividly defends when it comes to upcoming artists making their way in the industry. “If your art is an extension of you, and it’s how you communicate with the world, how you process the world, then you need to be able to own it. Otherwise you’d drive yourself crazy because that thing that is an extension of you can be taken to so many different places, and you just have to watch it go because you gave someone else control.” A wink to women in particular, as she reckons they are being told from a young age, as much as men are, to be part of specific social setting. In her eyes the struggle should be evenly shared between both. The pressure girls and women are going through is so much different than the one boys and men are facing, that is a certainty, such conversations should however happen more often. A kind invitation to explore and share the struggle together. A journey for her with him, for him with her, Hymns For Him, as much as For Her. One without the other unveils as… nothing AT ALL.
WE’RE ALLOWED TO SPEAK OUR MIND, AND THAT’S OK
Her music reaches the super vulnerable but at the same time takes a lot of courage, almost defying for facing the real with such an openness in storytelling. We said overload; she replied “JUST ENOUGH.” She hopes that people will come back to actually communicate with each other: “It’s very interesting because everyone is afraid to say what they desire. Or being direct about what they want, or what they NEED. Or what they don’t have…” Fault onto the insecurity caused by so much access to perfection all the time, even from a distance, meaning the digital. In her eyes, “everyone feels like they’re not enough,” which draws where the confusion comes from, and assuredly all these insecurities that her songs explore, both musically and visually.
Like an enchantress, Cosima opens the doors to CLOSENESS and the beauty of the overwhelming, the pain of being, the light in loving. On the other side, she motherly, without losing any charm, takes you SOMEWHERE else and gazes at your soul whispering the words that tend to be way too often forgotten: “It’s ok, you are your home.” The REAL, the unnamed, all and everything in-between that shapes A PERSON, Cosima gifts it through her art, making you finally feel like part of a family. The UNCONDITIONAL rhymes with nirvana, she did say 14, and suggests thinking STOPS never AGAIN, that flesh can be DISGUSTING OR SEXY, that a woman equals MORE THAN, that words MIGHT NOT BE ENOUGH, that she feels complete, and IMPOSSIBLE does not assume flying, unless you DRINK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
*If you read carefully between the lines, you’ll find the stream of consciousness that our editor and Cosima shared. Our editor’s words underlined, Cosima’s in CAPITAL LETTERS.
Styling RACHEL BAKEWELL | Hair NICOLE KAHLANI | Make-up DANIELLE KAHLANI | Photography assistants GEORGE READ, MICHAEL HANI & MARK ARRIGO | Styling assistant KATE SINCLAIR